The Regional Municipality Of York

    >>>

Mandatory Use of Face Masks and Coverings

Masks or face coverings are required inside enclosed public spaces in York Region.

As of 12:01 a.m. on August 7, masks and face coverings will be required in common areas of condominium buildings, apartment buildings and other multi-residential buildings.

Effective October 2, 2020, the provincial government implemented new restrictions to help prevent and stop the spread of COVID-19. This includes mandating the use of face coverings in all public indoor settings across the province, including businesses, facilities and workplaces, with limited exemptions including corrections and developmental services.

These new restrictions were adopted through the amended order O. Reg 364/20 (Rules for Areas in Stage 3 under the Reopening Ontario [A Flexible Response to COVID-19] Act, 2020) and includes:

  • Premises or any portion thereof which are used as a place of business for the sale or offering for sale of goods or services, and includes a mall or similar structure which contains multiple places of business
  • Churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, or other places of worship
  • Community centres including indoor recreational facilities
  • Community service agencies providing services to the public
  • Banquet halls, convention centres, arenas, stadiums, and other event spaces
  • Premises utilized as an open house, presentation centre, or other facility for real estate purposes
  • Common areas of hotels, motels and other short-term rentals, such as lobbies, elevators, meeting rooms or other common use facilities
  • Common areas of condominiums, apartments and multi-unit residential buildings, such as lobbies, elevators, meeting rooms or other common use facilities
  • Concert venues, theatres, cinemas, casinos, and other entertainment facilities
  • Libraries, art galleries, museums, aquariums, zoos and other similar facilities

Exempt:

Wearing a face mask or covering when in public or other settings is not a replacement for following proven measures such as handwashing and physical distancing of at least 2-metres.

Those exempt from wearing a face mask or covering in indoor spaces are:

  • Is a child who is younger than two years of age
  • Has a medical condition that inhibits their ability to wear a mask or face covering
  • Is unable to put on or remove their mask or face covering without the assistance of another person
  • Requires the removal as may be necessary for the purposes of health and safety
  • Is being accommodated in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005
  • Is being reasonably accommodated in accordance with the Human Rights Code
  • Performs work for the business or organization, is in an area that is not accessible to members of the public and is able to maintain a physical distance of at least 2-metres from every other person while in the indoor area
  • York Region Transit (YRT has its own bylaw requiring individuals wear a face covering while on transit vehicles or property)

Information for Business Owners and Operators

Face Coverings and Face Masks

There are many types of masks available, ranging from cloth or material non-medical masks to N95 respirator masks. Each type of mask has its place, but not every mask is appropriate for day-to-day use.

Non-Medical Masks

Non-medical masks may include:

  • Those that are made from cloth (for example cotton)
  • Those that have pockets to insert filters
  • Those that are used to cover other masks or respirators to prolong their use

Remember:

  • Wearing a non-medical mask is NOT a replacement for physical distancing, hand washing, and monitoring your health
  • Wearing a mask adds an extra layer of protection: for others in case you have COVID-19 and for you in case others have COVID-19 Singing, shouting, talking and breathing all create micro-droplets. If you have COVID-19 you may not know it, but your micro-droplets would be full of virus
  • Remember to avoid touching your face, even while wearing a face mask or covering

For more information about non-medical masks, visit Health Canada's website About non-medical masks and face coverings.

Medical Masks

Medical masks and N95 respirators should be reserved for health care workers and should not be worn by healthy community members.

For health care workers looking for information on personal protective equipment, please refer to Public Health Ontario’s (PHO) Updated IPAC Recommendations for Use of Personal Protective Equipment for Care of Individuals with Suspect or Confirmed COVID-19.


How to Safely Wear a Face Covering


DO wear a non-medical mask or face covering to protect others.


DO discard mask that cannot be washed in a plastic-lined garbage bin after use.


DO ensure the mask is made of at least two layers of tightly woven fabric.


DO store reusable masks in a clean paper bag until you wear it again.


DO inspect the mask for tears and holes.


DON'T reuse masks that are moist, dirty or damaged.


DO wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after touching the mask or face covering.


DON'T remove the mask to talk to someone.


DO use the ear loops or ties to put on and remove the mask.


DON'T hang mask from your neck or ears.


DO ensure your nose and mouth are fully covered.


DON'T share your mask.


DO wash your mask with hot, soapy water and let it dry completely before wearing it again.


DON'T touch the mask while wearing it.


DO replace and launder your mask whenever it becomes damp or dirty.


Learn more about how to protect yourself during COVID-19.

Watch this video below, or view at Canada.ca to learn more about how to wear a non-medical mask or face covering.

Mask Distribution Program

York Region is partnering with local community support agencies and service providers, such as food banks, shelters and affordable housing facilities to distribute a limited quantity of reusable masks to vulnerable residents, including low-income individuals and families, seniors and those who are experiencing or are at-risk of homelessness.

This initiative supports those who may not have access to, or the ability to purchase masks for themselves or their family members.

Contact Access York at 1-877-464-9675 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday to request masks.  A maximum of two masks will be mailed to each person, while quantities last.

Visit canada.ca/coronavirus for instructions to make your own non-medical mask using material often found at home.

For more information, please see the Frequently Asked Questions below.


Frequently Asked Questions

What you need to know about the instruction

Are masks mandatory across Ontario?

Yes. Effective October 2, 2020, the provincial government implemented new restrictions to help prevent and stop the spread of COVID-19. This includes mandating the use of face coverings in all public indoor settings across the province, including businesses, facilities and workplaces, with limited exemptions including corrections and developmental services.


Why should I wear a non-medical mask?

If you are sick:

If you are coughing or sneezing, wear a non-medical mask to protect people around you from getting sick. This is very important if you go to an appointment, clinic, or a hospital. Do not go to other public places when you are sick, even if you are wearing a mask. If you are seeking medical care, an appropriate medical/surgical mask will be given to you. Follow the instructions given to you in the health care setting about how to remove and store your non-medical mask while you are there

If you are not sick and are going to a public place (e.g., grocery store or pharmacy):

Effective October 2, 2020, the provincial government implemented new restrictions to help prevent and stop the spread of COVID-19. This includes mandating the use of face coverings in all public indoor settings across the province, including businesses, facilities and workplaces, with limited exemptions including corrections and developmental services.

If you are caring for someone who is sick:

If you are taking care of someone who is coughing or sneezing, particularly if they are unable to wear a mask, wear a non-medical mask when you are close to them. The person you are taking care of should also wear a non-medical mask


What is considered an appropriate mask or face covering?

A face covering means a non-medical mask or other face coverings such as bandanas, scarves or cloth mask that has been purchased or made to cover the mouth, nose and chin, ensuring a barrier limiting the spread of respiratory droplets when you cough, sneeze or talk.


What if I can’t wear a face covering and who shouldn’t wear a face mask or covering?

Please show kindness to people not wearing masks as there are a variety of reasons, including medical, why individuals are not able to wear a face covering.

The following individuals do not or should not wear a face covering in indoor public spaces:

  • The Person is a child under two (2) years of age
  • The Person is compromised by wearing a face covering because of a medical condition
  • The Person is unable to place or remove a face covering without assistance
  • The Person requires accommodation under the Human Rights Code
The Regional Municipality of York en-US

Wearing your mask

What is the correct way to use a mask?

  • Wash your hands immediately before putting the mask on, immediately before adjusting it, immediately before taking it off, and immediately after taking it off. Use soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to wash your hands
  • Make sure your mask completely and comfortably covers the nose and mouth without gaping and allows for easy breathing
  • Make sure your mask is secured to your head with ties or ear loops without the need to adjust frequently
  • Replace the mask as soon as it becomes damp or dirty, or if it has shrunk after washing and drying
  • Do not share your mask with others, even within your own household

When should I take off my mask?

Ensure you wash your hands before and after removing your mask, or anytime you wish to adjust your mask without removing it. You should take off your mask when:

  • You are safely able to (when physical distancing can be maintained) and the mask can be placed in a lined garbage bin if it is not reusable, in a plastic bag for a short time while transporting it home, or directly into the washing machine
  • It becomes damp or dirty and you can exchange it for a new one if you are still in a situation where you need to wear a mask

Can I wear my non-medical mask all day?

A mask can be worn all day as long as it does not become damaged, damp, or dirty. Remove your mask with clean hands when you are safely able to do so and wash your hands with soap and water again after.


It is important to note that:

  • Cloth or disposable masks can be re-used throughout the day if clean and intact – with clean hands, fold the mask in half so that the outer surface is inwards (so that the outer surface is not contacting anything during storage) and place it in a clean, sealable bag until ready to use it again the same day
  • A cloth mask should be placed directly into the washing machine. You can place a cloth mask in a plastic bag for a short time to transport it home to launder
  • A disposable mask should be removed and replaced if soiled, damaged, or hard to breathe through and should be discarded at the end of the day
  • Do not place your used mask into your pocket
  • Do not share your mask with others

Will a homemade mask protect me from COVID-19?

Wearing a non-medical mask is NOT a replacement for physical distancing, hand washing, and monitoring your health. Keeping a 2-metre distance is important to help stop the spread of COVID-19. There are some things you must keep in mind when choosing to wear cloth face coverings:

  • They may not block ALL the virus particles that are spread when someone coughs or sneezes
  • They should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of your face, allowing you to breath easily and be secured with ties or ear loops
  • They should be able to withstand frequent cycles through washing and drying machines

Can a face shield be used instead of a mask or face covering?

A face shield is not a substitute for wearing a face mask or covering as it does not filter respiratory droplets for the wearer or for others. A face shield may provide additional protection for the wearer against droplets expelled from another person, however these droplets may still be inhaled around the shield. Respiratory  droplets expelled by the wearer may escape around the sides of the face shield, which provides less protection to others. If you choose to wear a face shield, we recommend - if possible, to wear it in addition to a properly fitted mask.


What should I avoid about non-medical masks?

Non-medical masks should not:

  • Be made of plastic or other non-breathable materials
  • Be made of materials that easily fall apart, such as paper tissues
  • Be secured with tape or other similar materials
  • Be shared with others
  • Impair vision or interfere with tasks

Are masks required when eating or drinking indoors?

The face covering may be removed temporarily for the following purposes:

  • Receiving services that would require the temporary removal
  • Consuming food or drink
  • For any emergency or medical purpose
  • While actively engaging in an athletic or fitness activity including water-based activities

What kind of mask can I wear with head coverings such as a hijab?

A head covering is not a replacement for a cloth mask. If you wear a hijab, please wear a mask. Make sure the cloth mask fully covers your nose, mouth and fits snugly under your chin, over the bridge of your nose and against the sides of your face. If you wear a longer hijab, it could be used as a face covering if you wrap some of the cloth around your face to cover your nose and mouth.


Am I required to wear a mask underneath a niqab or burqa?

Niqabs and burqas are considered face covering. If you wear a niqab or burqa, you do not need to wear another face covering or mask underneath. Looser one-layer materials, such as those in niqabs and burqas, would be deemed acceptable as face coverings should people choose to use them to enter indoor public places.


How do I use a mask while wearing glasses/sunglasses?

To ensure a mask fits properly and snugly over your nose, you may need to take off your glasses before putting on your mask and avoid touching your glasses when wearing your mask. Ensure you wash your hands using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer immediately before and after adjusting your glasses or sunglasses.

It is recommended that you remove your glasses prior to taking off your mask. Only take off your glasses and mask when you can wash your hands using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Your glasses can be washed with soap and water to decrease potential spread of COVID-19.


Is a mask or face covering needed when I exercise?

Due to higher heart and breathing rates while exercising, wearing a mask may not be possible. You should not wear a mask if it would inhibit the ability to breathe in any way during moderate to intense physical activity (such as running or exercising) or an activity that would preclude its use (such as swimming).

Exercising without a mask is safer outdoors. If you are exercising outdoors, briefly passing someone on the sidewalk or road is not considered a significant risk for exposure to COVID-19. When exercising outdoors (such as jogging, cycling or skateboarding) here are some ways to stay safe: 

  • Maintain at least a 2-metre distance from others
  • When in single file (for example jogging), spacing needs to increase with speed of movement
  • Step-aside or pass others quickly and courteously on sidewalks
  • If you are with others, travel in single file to allow others to pass safely
  • If possible, consider using shared paths and sidewalks when it’s less busy

Do I have to wear a mask during a heat wave?

Unless you are unable to physically distance yourself while you’re outside, there is no need to wear a mask during a heat wave outdoors.

If the heat is a genuine concern for you or a family member, Public Health recommends you stay home and stay cool. For information and tips on how to stay cool during a heat wave, visit york.ca/extremeheat

The Regional Municipality of York en-US

Where you should wear a mask

What is considered an indoor public space?

This Instruction applies to the following establishments:

  • Premises or any portion thereof which are used as a place of business for the sale or offering for sale of goods or services, and includes a mall or similar structure which contains multiple places of business
  • Churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, or other places of worship
  • Community centres including indoor recreational facilities
  • Community service agencies providing services to the public
  • Banquet halls, convention centres, arenas, stadiums, and other event spaces
  • Premises utilized as an open house, presentation centre, or other facility for real estate purposes
  • Common areas of hotels, motels and other short-term rentals, such as lobbies, elevators, meeting rooms or other common use facilities
  • Common areas of condominiums, apartments and multi-unit residential buildings, such as lobbies, elevators, meeting rooms or other common use facilities
  • Concert venues, theatres, cinemas, casinos, and other entertainment facilities
  • Libraries, art galleries, museums, aquariums, zoos and other similar facilities

What spaces aren’t subject to the provincial regulations ?

Outdoor settings open to the public are excluded. Additionally, a non-medical mask or face covering is not required at home with immediate family members, or where other standards apply, such as the Occupational Health and Safety Act.


Do I need to wear a mask if I am travelling?

All air passengers now need to have a non-medical mask or face covering to cover their mouth and nose during travel.
For marine, rail or motor carrier/bus travel, travellers are encouraged to wear non-medical masks or face coverings whenever possible.

For more information, visit: New measures introduced for non-medical masks or face coverings in the Canadian transportation system (Transport Canada)


Do religious officiants need to wear a mask when leading a ceremony?

Places of worship are enclosed public spaces, and worshippers attending are required to wear a mask or face covering under the policy.

It is recommended that officiants use a microphone to reduce the risk of respiratory droplets being spread while speaking. It is also advised officiants refrain from participating in singing or chanting.

The officiant should stand at least 5-metres from those in attendance and at least 2-metres away from other officiants should there be more than one leading the ceremony. If there is a risk of the officiant standing within 2-metres to any other person, the officiant should wear a mask or face covering.

A face shield is not a substitute for wearing a face mask or covering as it does not filter respiratory droplets for the wearer or for others. A face shield may provide additional protection for the wearer against droplets expelled from another person; however these droplets may still be inhaled around the shield.

Respiratory droplets expelled by the wearer may escape around the sides of the face shield, which provides less protection to others. If you choose to wear a face shield, we recommend - if possible, to wear it in addition to a properly fitted mask.

Religious establishments are considered an indoor public space, and people attending these establishments are required to wear a mask or face covering.


Should I wear a mask when visiting an indoor sports or recreation facility?

Indoor sports and recreation facilities are considered enclosed public spaces. In public areas of the facility (lobby, change rooms, etc.) masks and face coverings are required, except when participating in physical activity. The instruction states masks and face coverings can be removed temporarily while actively engaging in an athletic or fitness activity, including swimming.


Are masks and face coverings required for indoor sports?

Indoor sports facilities are enclosed public space therefore in common areas (entrance, lobbies, change rooms) masks and face coverings are required. However, athletes and participants are permitted to remove their masks and face coverings when participating in athletic and physical activity.

The Regional Municipality of York en-US

Enforcing masks

Under what authority are these instructions being issued?

These new restrictions were adopted through the amended order O. Reg 364/20 (Rules for Areas in Stage 3 under the Reopening Ontario [A Flexible Response to COVID-19] Act, 2020).


Who is responsible for enforcing this requirement?

These new restrictions were adopted through the amended order O. Reg 364/20 (Rules for Areas in Stage 3 under the Reopening Ontario [A Flexible Response to COVID-19] Act, 2020). The province, public health unit and municipal bylaw officers are authorized to enforce these requirements.

The Regional Municipality of York en-US

Information for businesses

Do employees of the business, organization or public transit service need to wear a face covering?

Yes, employees need to wear a face covering when working in the indoor public space unless the employee is an area of the premises that is not designated for public access.


Does a person still need to stay 2-metres away from others if they are wearing a face covering?

Yes, since the beginning of the pandemic, York Region Public Health has recommended you maintain a physical distance of 2-metres from others and to wear a mask or face covering if physical distancing cannot be maintained.


Are both owner/operators and customers subject to fines?

These new restrictions were adopted through the amended order O. Reg 364/20 (Rules for Areas in Stage 3 under the Reopening Ontario [A Flexible Response to COVID-19] Act, 2020). The province, public health unit, local police services and municipal bylaw officers are authorized to enforce these requirements.


Can businesses require proof of exemption or turn people away?

No, you will not be required to provide proof of exemption.
The Regional Municipality of York en-US

Making and taking care of your masks

What if I cannot afford to buy a mask?

If you cannot afford a new mask, there are instructions on canada.ca/coronavirus on how to make a face covering using a t-shirt or bandana. There are many alternatives to store-bought face-coverings.


How do I make a mask?

There are different ways to make non-medical masks. Health Canada has provided instructions on how to make non-medical masks with sew or no-sew options and has included the types of material you can use to make the non-medical masks, such as cotton, t-shirts or bandanas.


What type of fabric or cloth do I use?

Use at least two layers of tight woven fabric. Cotton is the most widely used fabric. It is better if the thread count is higher. For example, 600-thread count pillowcases and cotton sheets, quilters cotton, and flannel work well.

Use a combination of fabrics such as a high thread count cotton with silk, chiffon, or flannel. If possible, use different fabrics or colours for each side of the mask. This helps you to know which side faces your mouth and which side faces out. Insert a paper towel or disposable coffee filter, if your mask includes a pocket for more protection.


How do I wash, re-use, and discard a non-medical mask?

Wearing a mask can increase your risk of infection if you touch your face more frequently while readjusting it or if you do not wash your hands before putting it on and taking it off. All parts of non-medical masks can become contaminated by breathing or when touched by your hands.

Cloth face masks become contaminated, especially when touched by your hands. When taking off a cloth mask or face covering, follow these steps:

  1. After washing your hands, remove your mask by pulling the ties or ear loops away from your ears
  2. Put the mask directly into the washing machine, or in a bag that can be emptied into the washing machine. Throw out the bag after you have used it to store used masks. If the bag is washable you can wash it with your mask. Wash your hands again after removing your mask
  3. Wash mask with other laundry using a hot cycle. When hand washing masks, use laundry detergent and water as hot as you can stand, then dry thoroughly. Make sure to remove and discard filters before washing.
  4. When discarding damaged or worn out masks, drop them in a lined garbage bin
  5. Do not leave any discarded masks in places where others can come in contact with them such as shopping carts, public seats, bus stops, or on the ground
  6. DO NOT place these items in recycling. These items are not recyclable and must be removed by hand by front-line staff.
  7. DO NOT litter these items. Littering is unacceptable and poses a risk to everyone and the environment.
The Regional Municipality of York en-US

Evidence-based information

Where can I find evidence-based information on face coverings?

As this is a new and emerging virus, information and studies are limited but the following is some of the evidence currently available.

The Regional Municipality of York en-US

Communicating with individuals who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing

Some people who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing cannot wear face coverings because they rely on facial movements and lip-reading to communicate. If you meet someone not wearing a face covering, be understanding. It is not always obvious when someone is deaf, deafened or hard of hearing.

To communicate with someone who is deaf, deafened or hard of hearing, ask the person how they prefer to communicate. Not all deaf people use sign language. You can remove your mask if someone who is deaf or hard of hearing asks you to, but keep a distance of 2 metres or stand behind a plexiglass barrier.

The Regional Municipality of York en-US

York Region’s Mask Distribution Program

Why is York Region distributing masks to residents?

To support residents during these challenging times, York Region is distributing reusable masks to these residents through our local community support agencies and service providers, such as food banks, shelters and Housing with Supports providers and through Access York.


Who is eligible to receive a mask?

York Region will distribute the masks to vulnerable residents, including seniors, individuals and families living with low-income and those who are experiencing or are at-risk of homelessness.


How can I get a mask?

York Region will provide the masks to local community support agencies and service providers, such as food banks, shelters and Housing with Supports providers. They will provide each resident who uses their services with two masks. Residents may also call Access York at 1-877-464-9675 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, and request that masks be sent to them by mail.


How many masks can I get?

Each eligible resident, five years of age or older, will receive two reusable masks from York Region.


Do I have to pay for the masks?

No, there will be no cost to residents receiving the masks either through York Region or through community support agencies and service providers.


Can I get masks for my family?

Yes. If you require masks for your family, you will be able to receive two reusable masks for each person, five years of age or older, in your household.


What if two masks are not enough? Can I receive more?

York Region is aiming to help as many residents as possible using this limited supply of masks; therefore, each eligible resident may only receive two masks. Residents should visit canada.ca/coronavirus for instructions on making their own masks using different types of materials often found at home.


How many masks will York Region distribute?

York Region will distribute up to 300,000 reusable masks to eligible residents. Each individual will get two masks.


Who will receive masks first?

York Region will leverage its existing channels and established relationships with community support agencies and service providers, such as food banks, shelters and Housing with Supports providers to help distribute the masks to vulnerable residents as long as supplies last. This includes seniors, individuals and families living with low-income and those who are experiencing or are at-risk of homelessness.


Can I receive a mask if I am not part of this group?

With a limited number of masks available for distribution, York Region is asking residents who are able to purchase or produce their own masks to do so at this time. Residents can visit canada.ca/coronavirus for instructions on how to make their own masks, with sew or no-sew options and using different types of materials often found at home.

The Regional Municipality of York en-US


 


Mask,mandatory,required,face covering,bylaw,by-law The Regional Municipality of York en-US Image of lady wearing a face covering while shopping Mandatory Use of Face Masks and Coverings Face mask and covering are mandatory inside establishments in York Region.

Events Calendar


  • More events